This is Darcy’s first year in the Virtual Academy, a program run as part of the Catholic Schools Office Gifted Education K-12 strategy, which commits to providing gifted students with learning opportunities to realise their potential.
For his Academy project, Darcy looked at the global issues of overpopulation and deforestation and came up with an idea to leave us hanging.
“My idea was a fully self-sufficient and self-powered building built into the side of a cliff, with living quarters and a school so lots of people could stay there and go to school or work,” said Darcy.
“It will help to reduce deforestation because it doesn’t take up land space.”
Darcy chose Cape Bear in France as the location for his multi-level cliff face building in order to harness the extreme wind, sun and water for power, thereby combating the issue of how to live and produce energy in a way that does not ruin the environment.
Safety was also considered during the design process, with Darcy addressing the need for deep pylons into the rock and carbon fibre mesh to prevent rocks from collapsing onto the building.
Darcy has found that being a part of the Virtual Academy has helped to improve his technological skills.
“I’m not very good with computers, so doing this has definitely helped me improve my skills a lot.”
Kate Buchanan Willis, Darcy’s teacher at St Columba’s, has also noticed an increase in Darcy’s skills since his time in the Academy.
“He’s been really dedicated and committed to solving the problem and really set out the process,” said Kate.
“In his learning now, he sets out the process of defining the problem, brainstorming solutions, picking the best solution and then designing that in a really structured way and I’ve seen that transfer into the classroom to.
“Also his confidence in order to communicate has increased. He was a bit nervous about presenting it to the class but he did a really good job and did really well at communicating his ideas in that process.”
Geraldine Blake, Education Officer from the Catholic Schools Office, was also impressed by Darcy’s innovative idea.
“You have proposed an innovative idea to address a number of real world problems, such as deforestation, overpopulation and its effect on land use and native animals,” said Geraldine.
“Your cliff building seeks to solve this problem but also to contribute to the cohesion of the community by housing them all together, including facilities such as a school.”